GE 2020: Information for visually impaired voters and voters who are both visually impaired and suffer from hearing loss
Please refer to the following link which may contain useful information to know about how Presiding Officers (POs) have been instructed to behave on Polling Day, 10 July 2020.
In particular, we copy the following clauses which are specifically relevant to visually impaired voters:
5.9. The PO may, only on the request of a voter, help the voter to mark his ballot paper if the voter is visually impaired or unable to mark the ballot paper as a result of the voter’s physical disability. The PO will mark the ballot paper according to the voter’s directions and then guide the voter to place the ballot paper in the ballot box. No polling agents are allowed to be present when the PO is helping the voter to mark the ballot paper. This is to ensure voting secrecy. Every PO is under oath to keep the voter’s ballot a secret.
5.10. For the visually impaired voter who wishes to mark the ballot paper on his own, a plastic stencil will be provided for use. The PO will insert the ballot paper into the stencil and pass the stencil to the voter to allow him to feel the cut-out boxes on the stencil. The PO will then speak clearly and audibly to the voter (so that the polling agents may also hear) as to the sequence of the candidates’ names or group of candidates printed on the ballot paper. The voter
will then proceed to mark the ballot paper at the polling booth. After marking, the voter will remove the ballot paper from the stencil, fold the ballot paper into half before dropping the ballot paper into the ballot box. The PO will collect the stencil from the voter and guide him out of the polling station.
5.11. If a PO notices that a voter is taking an unusually long time at the polling booth, the PO may take such steps as are necessary to expedite the process.
5.12. No person, except a PO acting for a purpose authorised by the law (such as explaining the method of voting or assisting a voter with special needs), is allowed to communicate or attempt to communicate with any voter after the voter has received a ballot paper and before the voter has placed it in a ballot box.
Information for voters who are both visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing
For deaf-blind voters on polling day, election officials have been trained to allow one caregiver to accompany deaf-blind voters into the polling station should this be required for communication support. An election official would explain the process to the caregiver in the presence of polling agent(s) for the caregiver to communicate the details to the voter. Thereafter, the election official would bring the voter into the polling booth and assist the voter to mark the ballot paper, if required. Otherwise, the official would insert the ballot paper into a stencil and allow the voter to mark the ballot paper independently as set out above.
A picture of the stencil is shown here:
Wishing everyone a successful Polling Day.